LOS ANGELES – There are two logos in the Dodger Stadium outfield near the hockey rink on its infield. One features the Los Angeles Kings, surrounded by sand. The other features the Anaheim Ducks, surrounded by water. It’s all very elemental.
I heard something about these logos, from two different sources. First, that the Kings logo was originally going to be a sandcastle, like the one found outside Staples Center during the postseason two years ago.
Second, that the Anaheim logo was originally going to have … actual ducks swimming around it.
Real live ducks. In Dodger Stadium.
This naturally led to macabre delusions of grandeur. Like a duck flying into the middle of the rink and a player goes Green Bay Gamblers-on-a-bat with it. Like sparks from the KISS stage lighting their feathers on fire.
So … will there be ducks?
“There will be a duck pond. I don’t know if there will be live ducks,” said Don Renzulli, Senior Vice President of Events for the NHL, coyly.
C’mon, will there be ducks?
“Not unless some come flying in,” he said.
Oh well. We’ll might have to settle for the ones from Anaheim on the ice.
The “live ducks” idea was one of many that fell by the wayside during the production process. The NHL first had to decide whether to do up Dodger Stadium like it does with the Winter Classic: Faux snow and seasonal iconography. Instead, it went all-in for a celebration of hockey in California: Palm trees, a sand volleyball court, a deck hockey rink and other LA-centric visages.
“The whole theme is really showing Southern California. The Venice Beach feel. You’ll see rollerbladers and skateboarders and BMX bikes and people running around in the pregame. To show something beyond a hockey game,” said Renzulli.
The whole thing has the feel of an Olympics opening ceremony: an event that honors the host city, while also telling its story.
For Renzulli, who previously helped the NFL put on Super Bowl games, it was a chance for the NHL to break its mold for outdoor games and attempt something unique to Los Angeles: From the sand to the infield grass to the giant stage for KISS in the outfield.
“We’re doing things here that we can’t do at other stadiums, or haven’t even tried,” he said.